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Linux Foundation launches new entry-level IT certification

Like it or not, certifications are important for getting ahead in technology. The Linux Foundation wants to help by launching a new, entry-level certification: The Linux Foundation Certified IT Associate (LFCA).

If you're Linus Torvalds, you don't need a certification to get a job. People know who you are. But most of us trying to get a start in technology need a certification. Now, The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit, open-source powerhouse organization, and Certiverse, a certification testing startup, have announced they're working on a new entry-level IT certification offering: The Linux Foundation Certified IT Associate (LFCA).

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The LFCA will show your expertise and skills in modern fundamental information technology. Note the word "modern," this is not your dad's entry-level IT certification. The focus is on Linux, system administration, and cloud computing, not on how to tune-up a PC or how to try to secure Windows. There's still a place for people with those skills, but they're going to top out in technical support rather than a high-paying, high-end IT job.  

The main domains and competencies that the LFCA will measure are:

  • Linux Fundamentals (20%)
  • System Administration Fundamentals (20%)
  • Cloud Computing Fundamentals (20%)
  • Security Fundamentals (16%)
  • DevOps Fundamentals (16%)
  • Supporting Applications and Developers (8%)

The LFCA exam will test your knowledge of fundamental IT concepts. This includes Linux, software application installation and management, hardware installation, use of the shell and basic programming, basic networking functions, and security best practices. If you pass this, you'll be ready to start work toward the intermediate Linux Foundation Certified SysAdmin (LFCS) and advanced Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE) certifications.
 
This certification will be useful if you're new to IT and want to start an IT career. If you're not sure, it can help you decide if IT is the right fit for you.

To get ready for the exam, Linux Foundation suggests you'll find its related edX Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) helpful. Appropriate free classes include Introduction to Linux, Introduction to Cloud Infrastructure Technologies, and Introduction to DevOps and Site Reliability Engineering.

For now, there's no plan to offer a specific LFCS training class. The Foundation expects third-party training providers to fill that gap. The Linux Foundation also thinks that what you'd learn in a typical community-college computer science program should equip you for taking the LFCA exam.

To pass the exam, you'll take it online with a remote proctor monitoring you via webcam. Successful candidates receive a badge that can be shared with potential employers. The badge is valid for three years from the date awarded.

"We're thrilled to work with an innovative leader like the Linux Foundation to demonstrate the revolutionary capabilities of our system," said Certiverse CEO and co-founder Ruben Arturo Garcia. "We're making exams more relevant and accessible to learners, and at a time when the need for IT professionals is rapidly growing, the Linux Foundation is the perfect partner in that mission." 
 
"It has been decades since a truly new entry-level or pre-career IT certification has come to market, and it is high time that changes," said Linux Foundation SVP and GM of Training & Certification Clyde Seepersad in a statement. "So much of the best practices, hardware, software, and overall roles and responsibilities of IT professionals have changed in the last few years. We want to give folks a clear picture of where IT is today and where it will be in the future." 

Seepersad's right. There are lots of entry-level certifications out there, such as the CompTIA A+, Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA), and CompTIA IT Fundamentals+. But these all date back to an earlier, more PC-centric IT world rather than today's cloud-oriented world.

You can check into taking the LFCA this November. 

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